Tuesday, August 8, 2017

NY Times Says Pence Positioning for 2020; Pence Objects, Loudly

The New York Times has published a story suggesting that Vice President (and former Indiana Governor) Mike Pence is positioning himself for a run at the presidency in 2020 on the assumption that the current president will be unavailable. The bill of particulars includes Pence becoming the only sitting VP ever to establish his own political fund-raising committee, meeting extensively with donors, and hiring a politically aggressive chief-of-staff. You can read the Times article here.

The Times reported that Pence responded strongly:
“Today’s article in The New York Times is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family and our entire team. The allegations in this article are categorically false and represent just the latest attempt by the media to divide this administration. Whatever fake news may come our way, my entire team will continue to focus all our efforts to advance the president’s agenda and see him re-elected in 2020. Any suggestion otherwise is both laughable and absurd.”
Understanding the president's mercurial nature and his obsession with absolute personal loyalty, Pence's denial was loud and public. Frank Bruni's column "Mike Pence, You're Doomed" says Pence responded "with an operatic outrage that showed just how close to the bone it had cut." Bruni describes Pence's no-win situation like this: "Without Trump he’s nothing. With Trump he’s on a runaway train that he can’t steer or brake. If it doesn’t crash, Trump can scream down the tracks straight through 2020. If it does, Pence will be one of the casualties."

All this is laid out nicely by Glen Thrush in August 8 edition of the Times podcast The Daily, in which Thrush notes that Pence jumped at Trump's offer of the vice presidency because Pence was "enroute to being defeated for re-election as governor of Indiana," a fact not often noted.